13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
Athens, December 9-11, 2011
SOCIALISM IS THE FUTURE!
The international situation and the experience of the communists 20 years after the counterrevolution in the USSR. The tasks for the development of the class struggle in conditions of capitalist crisis, imperialist wars, of the current popular struggles and uprisings, for working class-popular rights, the strengthening of proletarian internationalism and the anti-imperialist front, for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism.
Contribution of Communist Party of Britain
ADDRESS BY ROBERT GRIFFITHS
This current crisis of over-production and over-accumulation arises from the tendencies and contradictions of the capitalist system. But even these periodic, systemic crises have specific and particular features, as was the case in the 1929-33 and 1971-74, as well as common and general ones.
Today, the predominance of the banks and financial markets and institutions in some of the most developed capitalist economies has sharpened and prolonged the crisis and made it more complex for ruling class policy makers to resolve. The most parasitic, unstable and unproductive circles of finance monopoly capital are demanding the most drastic, reactionary measures to try to resolve the crisis in ways which maintain their predominance, whatever the cost to the working class, to the mass of the people, to public services, productive industry, democratic rights and national sovereignty.
This demonstrates how the current economic crisis is one aspect of the general crisis of capitalism which has re-emerged broader, deeper and more dangerous than before. Ultimately, it exercises the most decisive influence over other important aspects that should not be overlooked: the food, energy and ecological crises; the crisis of social alienation; the crisis of bourgeois democracy - not least the replacement of elected government by an open dictatorship of the bankers in two western European states; and the crisis of peace, militarism and imperialist war.
For British imperialism - whose ruling class has bigger international investments than any other except the United States - the priorities are to:
Protect the City of London's pre-eminence in key financial markets, resisting the drive by German state-monopoly capitalism in particular to impose any new tax or regulatory regime on the City as part of a reorganisation of the European Union and the eurozone.
Maintain and extend its international investment positions through strategic alliances with US and European imperialisms, despite the contradictions of such a dual strategy.
Rebuild British investment and influence in the Greater Middle East region with its vital natural resources and supply routes; and to
Defend British imperialism's relatively strong position in sub-Saharan Africa, including against the growing involvement of China.
At home, the British ruling class has set the agenda for our own unelected dictatorship of the bankers - the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. On the pretext of tackling the public finance deficit, this agenda is to slash public services and welfare benefits, privatise the health and education services, impose new restrictions on employment and trade union rights, increase regressive taxation and make more public funds available to subsidise monopoly capitalism and bail out the financial sector.
The labour movement has been slow to respond, but the momentum of resistance is growing. We have had the million-strong national demonstration called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on March 26; the June 30 one-day strike to defend workers' pensions organised by eight public sector trade unions with one million members; and the TUC Day of Action on November 30, when most public sector unions brought three million workers out on strike. We have a 15-week pay strike by electrical workers in the construction industry, the students' struggle against rising tuition fees, and the growing number of local campaigns to defend local public services and jobs.
In these conditions, the Communist Party of Britain is urging unity between public and private sector workers. We emphasise the need to win public opinion and mobilise it in defence of all pensions, public services and jobs; and we argue for the trade union movement to help build broad-based local community campaigns to defend public services and jobs.
Our efforts to unite the working class movement around a Left-Wing Programme of policies - for public ownership, economic planning, progressive taxation, renewable energy, new public sector housing and peace - is making progress. The TUC has adopted the People's Charter first proposed by the Communist Party, and this weekend a national meeting is being held to coordinate local Trades Union Councils across Britain in a campaign linking the Charter's demands with the fight against mass unemployment. The TUC has also adopted an Alternative Economic Strategy that features several key policies from the People's Charter and the Left Wing Programme.
Many trade unions have endorsed the Charter for Women, another communist initiative, which lays the basis for rebulding a militant, class-based women's movement. The Communist Party and some of its left and trade union allies are also playing a prominent part in the People's Pledge campaign for a referendum against Britain's membership of the European Union.
The new mood of militancy is reflected in an upsurge of trade union support for the Morning Star daily newspaper, whose editorial policy is based on the Communist Party's programme, Britain's Road to Socialism. The unions paid for free distribution of 60,000 copies of the paper on March 26, and another 25,000 on November 30. Eight national trade unions are now represented on the management committee of the Morning Star.
The Morning Star and the Communist Party explain that this is a crisis of capitalism, a system that the working class, the people and our planet cannot afford. A new edition of Britain's Road to Socialism was launched through the Morning Star in the summer and is now being taken into the trade union and people's movement, with a big series of well-attended public meetings held across England, Scotland and Wales during the past three months.
While proposing a Left-Wing Programme of measures to challenge and make inroads into the wealth and power of monopoly capital, we link this to the need for the working class and its allies to fight for state power, to overthrow capitalism and construct a socialist society.